Competencies Task Force Week: Laurie Stevahn, Donna Podems and Nicole Galport on the Professional Domain

This is Laurie Stevahn, Seattle University, Donna Podems, OtherWISE: Research and Evaluation, and Nicole Galport, Claremont Graduate University, members of AEA’s Evaluator Competencies Task Force. The work of our task force has been guided by a grounding question: What is fundamental to the practice of evaluators?

Competencies that comprise the 2/24/16 DRAFT Professional Domain are those deemed to fundamentally ground the professionalism of evaluator practice and distinguish evaluators from others who engage in professional inquiry.  These competencies include knowing and adhering to standards, guidelines, and principles adopted by AEA, our professional association (i.e., the Joint Committee Standards, AEA Guiding Principles, AEA Public Statement on Cultural Competence), engaging in ethical and culturally appropriate practice, and being reflective practitioners—knowing oneself as an evaluator, communicating that to others, and striving for continuous growth.


Lesson Learned—and Assistance Sought:  Putting it mildly, wording competencies is a non-trivial challenge! Competency 1.5 borrows the phrase “the general and public welfare” from AEA’s Guiding Principle 5. AEA members approved this wording when the Guiding Principles were developed. We have received conflicting feedback to date about this language. On the one hand, some people question whether such content should even be included as an evaluator competency; on the other hand, some question why we are not using stronger language related to social justice, rather than to “the general and public welfare.” We welcome thoughts on how to include this important, but difficult content in the professional domain.

Get Involved: The task force continues to seek AEA membership input as we progress toward a final revision that, following Board approval, will ultimately be presented to the AEA membership for a vote. Your feedback matters, so make your voice heard by going to the link on the AEA homepage ( and providing your input. Also, check aea365 in the coming days for draft competencies from the remaining four domains.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating AEA’s Competencies Task Force week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from members of AEA’s Competencies Task Force. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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